Building and Construction

New infrastructure technologies developed in Austria and the exporting of expertise make Austria a highly competitive partner for foreign firms. Owing to the “New Austrian Tunneling Method” (NATM), Austria took position in domestic and foreign markets.

Austria remains the leader in the building industry

Austria´s industrial sectors are based on two pillars: The first one is the structural engineering including roof and facade, formworks, structural fire protection, concrete and molding. The second one is the civil engineering including building machines and vehicles, road making, bridge engineering, tunneling, plant engineering and construction, earth works, canalization, power plant and railway construction.

The most flourishing industry sectors include, in particular, the transportation and shipping segment, countless successful Austrian building project organizers and building developers, producers of construction machines, materials, brick-, sand-, gravel- and ballast chipping manufacturers, producers of building materials, metal processing plants, window-, door-, and electrical installations, automation and scaffolding engineering, structural fire protection engineering, tool, pump and construction material manufacturers, prefab suppliers, lift engineers, screed-, tile-, floor-, stone- and marble suppliers, roofers, glaziers, coppersmiths, plumbers, carpenters and master carpenters, painters, upholsterers, decorators, engravers, welders, metal designers, stove setters, and besides that the timber- and steel industry, architecture firms, civil engineers, builders, and service engineering companies.

Driving force: Infrastructure 

The booming infrastructure market provides a diversified and rich platform for collaboration and new projects to the local building industry. This platform is made up of industrial sectors such as telecommunications, prosperous Austrian transport-, shipping-, and logistics enterprises, cab- and passenger transportation companies (railway, shipping-, and aviation companies, public transportation services, freight forwarding industry, aerial passenger lines, autobus companies, and many more).

Building industry ‒ a great asset for Austria´s economy

In 2010 the domestic building industry employed 189,042 people, which indicates a slight decline compared to the previous year. In Austria, the building industry ranks among the highest profiteers in the industrial production. With slight fluctuations the sales volume was in 2008: EUR 5.77 billion, in 2009: EUR 5.60 billion, and in 2010: EUR 5.29 billion. The number of employees in the building industry amounted in 2008 to: 28,279, in 2009 to: 27,438, and in 2010 to: 26,901 (cf. Statistik Austria).

Owing to the mature infrastructure market the Austrian building industry comes off better than the one in Western Europe. In the recent years, the actual building volume has grown by up to 2 percent each year. This has an major impact on the nominal gross domestic product with respect to the building industry, as can be seen with the following figures: Year 2010 with EUR 17.78 billion and an actual BIP of -6.4 percent compared with -5.4 percent in the previous year (cf. Statistik Austria).

Prosperous outlook for the domestic export 

Central and Eastern Europe are, without a doubt, the markets of the future: “Building in the East” is booming. Being well known as Austria´s largest building contractor, STRABAG makes 25 percent of their turnover in EU states (STRABAG). Owing to the free movement of goods, not only the Austrian building sector but also the infrastructure (environmental-, energy-, and traffic technology) are experiencing an upswing in both, the domestic and foreign market. Austria turns out as important player in the export market, especially when it comes to the building industry and infrastructure sector. The domestic building industry segment enjoys great opportunities in the foreign trade sector. New infrastructure technologies developed in Austria and the export of traditional expertise make Austria a highly competitive partner for foreign firms, which guarantees for a constant project flow. Austria´s leading firms in this sector are STRABAG, Porr, Alpine Bau GmbH – these companies are primarily involved in the further development of transport connections in the EU states, e.g. by the use of EU support programs. Upper Austria takes the top position as leading base for export, industry, and technology (cf. WIFO 2010, www.wifo.at).

Downward trend in investment willingness of public sector 

The domestic building industry hopes for a higher investment willingness on the part of the public sector. Co-operations with competitors are supposed to provide for the necessary stimulation. Despite a surplus in the sales figures of the first half year in 2011, the building industry maintains a rather pessimistic stance. According to a survey, 45 percent of the Building Association members anticipate the year 2011 to turn out even worse than the previous year. The decline in sales is expected to continue in 2013. The outlook for the segments of structural engineering and residential building is expected to be sluggish, which is attributable to the postponement of infrastructure projects (cf. Bauzeitung 2011; www.diebauzeitung.at).

Positive image abroad 

The Austrian building industry enjoys an excellent reputation in foreign markets and is well underway to becoming a powerful and important player in the export business. In particular, the country is highly acclaimed for its sustainable know-how in terms of innovative technology as well as for its paramount performance.

Owing to their “New Austrian Tunneling Method” (NATM), Austria has been able to position itself successfully in the domestic and foreign tunneling market. The distinctive features of this method are the remarkable rate of advance with up to 20 m per day and the high economic efficiency.

Editorial department: Mag. Markus Pellischek-Wilsdorf